deaf, please

i will name my firstborn after whomever can find me a poetry audiobook that isn't read by someone with all the emotion and feeling of the local traffic report. the world needs more poets to read poetry and record it. normal, bland, boring people can't do it justice, and i ache every time i hear a good poem slaughtered. i can't find a single audiobook of poetry on itunes or audible that i feel is worth downloading. can anyone help? do you have any favorites?


jangled gladmess - tight sealed goodness - it did happen, one time

the world is moving far too slow for my taste - maybe the magic is around another bmw contour, maybe it's in an air force one contrail, that's the right idea anyway, bishop takes queen

10 seconds in

itunes needs a preview mode for songs. like you put your library on shuffle and it only plays the first 10 seconds of each song, until you stop it and play the one you actually wanted to hear, instead of having to hit skip a brazillion times a day. just throwing that idea out there.

psych is pretty hilarious. i'm almost done with season 2. kinda crushing on james roday. i'll admit it. 

anyway, merry christmas, y'all. have a fabulous cover of "baby, it's cold outside" by allo' darlin to celebrate - just the female vocals, puts a great spin on it, i think. 

i think i'm crushing on this chick too. she's got a gorgeous voice. i'll ask for that for christmas. 

village inn's revision of their chocolate cream pie

totally sucks. what'd they do, put gelatin in it, like... extra gelatin? that's chocolate jell-o, not chocolate pudding. and don't try to tell me otherwise. fucking with a completely fine pie already. what's wrong with you, village inn, besides the obvious? at least you're not a waffle house.

4 loko

it's the bad boy
the slutty girl
the deal on the corner gone
amazingly, right.

so of course it's about to be universally banned
i'm sure though, we can all make a cocktail resembling it if we ever feel the need to get, quite quickly and cheaply, thoroughly wasted. i apologise to those of you taking 12, but really, you're not missing anything you haven't already been thru before. i suppose i like it for the premix & price. 4 loko does take some acclimation, so beware of guzzling. it might seem like soda pop made made by an  aglossiac.    it may get better, like with most alcohols, the more you ingest . but this drink's a trickster. convinces you  you're sober enough. until you try to actualize that desire to stick your hand thru the top of the teakwood  coffee table to grab the magazine stored underneath, you just don't realize how startingly drunk you are.

  i think it's the combination of  caffeine, guarana, taurene and fd&c blue no.1 more than the 12% alcohol content,  that makes it especially delusion inducing. i tried this stuff called tilt the other night, and i just couldn't ingest enough of it to catch a buzz. full disclosure: alcohol is not my d.o.c.  tilt has only the blue and the 12%  . the toxic- sludge- masked- with- aspertame flavor of the mix did not dissipate over time. that's the beauty of four loko. it removes taste from the equation. like bad coffee you'll slug down anyway, 4 loko is something i  drink because  i want that buzz.

the grape, blue, lemonade and fruit punch varieties all taste like cough syrup. but the lemon lime with its bright green pan galactic gargle blaster glow , when poured over ice, is completely palatable by the third swig. if you're going to go off the wagon, couldn't be a cheaper way. if you imbibe on an empty belly, be sure to hide the keys - all of them- before beginning. 

Dumb Luck by Dntel

just don't forget that it's dumb luck that got you here
don't fool yourself
misfortune's waiting for the best time to appear
to make it clear
that all the courage and the talent that you have
was just in dreams
and when you wake up
you will beg to get it back
to get it back

you can't trust your friends
they will betray with a love less blinding
and then at the end 
they may admit that you were missing something
and no one remembers 
even one word that left your mouth
all the melodies were stolen
from songs by someone else
you're out of time and inspiration
filled with self-pity and fear
and all the dreams that haven't dried up
are slowly drowning in your tears
in your tears

just don't forget 
that it's dumb luck that got you here
don't fool yourself
misfortune's waiting for the best time to appear
to make it clear
that all the courage and the talent
that you have 
was just in dreams 
and when you wake up
you will beg to get it back

to get it back

How's that for a Monday morning song? It's cold and morning and I'm at work (at a job i hate) with a headcold. So, to wallow in something miserable and depressing, here's the soundtrack. Thank you, Jimmy Tamborello.


So this morning, I find out, while looking for some music to share, that I have missed the farewell tour for Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, a.k.a. Owen Ashworth. I didn't even know he was calling it quits! I'm quite bummed. But I don't blame him. He'll do something else, just under a different name.

So thank you, Owen, your first two albums are some of the very favorite albums in my music collection. You were music I found myself. Music I shared with people, music I still want to share with people. Thank you for taking an icon from growing up in the 80s like a casio keyboard, and adding more depth and feeling to it with your music than anyone probably ever realized was even possible. You did with it what John Darnielle couldn't ever quite do. And I love you for it.

(P.S. Had to add the first song I ever heard of his: "Jeane, If You're Ever In Portland.")

But honestly, I was more heartbroken when The Delgados split up and died.

Lemon Harangue

When did Family Guy start this stupid tradition of re-making movies shot for shot? It was bad enough when they did that extra-long two-episode star wars tribute. They must've thought they were hot shit for pulling that off, cause now they're doing it every other episode - why? Okay, so you can replicate Rocky III as a cartoon with Family Guy characters in it. How about putting some satire in there while you're at it, or even some jokes? Or would that get in the way of your respectful homage to classic cinema? Fuck it's boring.

I hate to say this, but they seem to be going the way of the Simpsons, around season seven. There's these moments, of utter dead weight that remind me eerily of how the feel changed on the Simpsons. It was subtle though. I knew the voices sounded different, there was some kind of "upgrade" done in visual and sound production, but it just made everything too clinically detailed, like CBC radio. And it was like the warm ambiance that pervaded past episodes had been thrown down the incinerator.

It was never the same after that. And the "dead weight" thing - it's filler, lines that are obvious from the subtext and add NOTHING. Was thinking of the boxing match on the latest episode, between Lois and Deirdre. She says: "You goin' DOWN tonight Griffin!", and Lois screams back, with pointless dramatics: "Nat TONITE I'm nat!" or something. Totally vacuous, no significant inflection, no joke, nothing. Filler is death for shows like these. When the Simpsons were at their best, they had no filler - same with Family Guy. Oh man, it's a Wonderful Day for Pie! But that hilarious Disney parody was just a couple years ago, wasn't it? Maybe it's a temporary backslide, but there aren't many of those in TV land.

Sorrow - Pink Floyd (live)

Ruh roh. She's busting out the Floyd. That must mean boy trouble. My only trouble with boys is that none of them are David Gilmour. Or John Keats. Or some miraculous twist of both.

Don't date men who aren't poets or musicians. They're not worth it.

Today, I will say that I hope he gets his leg blown off for joining the army and being a douchebag. Tomorrow I might regret it.

I guess that's not really a review, or a critique. But doesn't it say something about the music, or my connection to the music, that every time I'm feeling shitty about something, Pink Floyd is the only thing I can listen to that fits? Not the plateau, the plateau music (everything else I've shared here, pretty much) is for everyday. I think I'm a generally lull person, morose. A facade of moroseness. I'm bright red in the center and grey on the edges, and it comes across as mauve. The plateau music is mauve.

Pink Floyd is a deep red vein. Pink Floyd is the only music epic enough, that I have a personal relationship with enough to echo or express my heartache. When your world implodes, when your paradigm shatters, when you realize you've spent two years on nothing in the grand scheme of things, you need vast, echoey, deep, rich, classic, original music. For me, that is Floyd. It will always be Floyd.

I've got it repeating right now, this song. It's music to drown in, that's what it is. Marooned was for my first real attempt at, well, perhaps it's better not to say. Sorrow is for this, Sorrow is the long, smoky bar I can drink myself under and stop time in.

Or, well. Yeah.

Matthew Dear, Gem

Song: Gem
Artist: Matthew Dear
Album: Black City
Year: 2010

Found this (heh) "Gem" last night, and downloaded the whole album. I have precious few electronica albums in my collection, but the ones that I have are really, really good. This album is on repeat for me for the rest of the day.

Ferocious Oaks - Musical Dogs

My neighbors, Justin & Christel, and their band Ferocious Oaks... playing their song Musical Dogs (which you can hear a better recording of on their MySpace page) outside.

Doom Metal Alliance reviews Ravenhead's "Catharsis"

review here --- fucking blogger formatting, why can't i just turn the image into a link to the review?

anyway, that was a nice review - i'm blushing!
i think some of the album is online here

"Apartment Story" by The National

This song doesn't need me to say anything for it.

GREAT Bowie interview about Scary Monsters

A lot of interviews I read, especially with musicians, are disappointing, they tend to reveal their shallowness and stupidity. Bowie casually augments his own work with brilliant explication.

"I Was Only Going Out" by Loney, Dear

Listen to this one, it deserves it. It's got everything that, to me, makes a great song. Environment: Some songs, you know the kind, invade your space. This is one of... those songs that makes a space for itself to exist in; Emotion: Emil Svanängen, who IS Loney, Dear, always writes such great English lyrics - for being Scandinavian, which if you listen to Nikola Sarcovic, you know can be difficult sometimes - especially if you don't play metal. And I am such a fan of Emil's composition - in this song especially; Individualism: it's a song that doesn't sound like anything else I've heard lately. The feel of it is very plateau, I guess, but this one is wound different. True, the music video isn't too-too original, but the music itself is, I think. And, last but certainly not least - I can listen to it 10 times in a row and still want to hear it again. I admit I've had it on repeat all week.

"Already Dead" by Denis Johnson

Well, it is beautiful, in a way that has me begging for something other than descriptions of a fleeing man tumbling through pacific coast creeks and forests - and then obliges me with an immersive portrait of a Halloween party and its intermingling of castes - in which I'm still lost. Like I'm not nearly worthy of this novel. Sure, I admit that. But I read the whole thing anyway, and I'm glad I did.

Navarro supposed he should stand aside, on the alert, but he let himself be drawn into sassy conversations and drank two beers quickly beside the kegs. Waved to Mo, a dancing girl. She lifted her hand and passed along the edges of his own irrelevance like a figure on a carousel.

What is it about this book, that literary types rave about, and that I can appreciate on a baser level? It's the style, or the eye, and the ear, and how they work together to synaesthetically sense an angular momentum in life, roiling currents, the latent energies of something more elemental, yet ethereal. I'm straining to try and have a meaningful take on it, but the story resists that. It's a frustrating read, but also rewarding every few pages or so. And of course, more than the sum of its parts, but seeming less than. Seeming, WTF? What's the point?

I like the character Yvonne. The fact that I like a character, really only her, says something about the author, I guess. I also like that in an afterward, on page 436, the author cops to having "distorted the intent" of the text "A Course in Miracles", on which Yvonne's notions are based, also referring the reader to the original. So, she's not just a straw lady. Although maybe that, as well. All things to all people, maybe? Yeah, make yourself easy.

get myself arrested - gomez

Burnt Ivories & Dino Drama

"Piano Fire"
from It's a Wonderful Life

It's a Wonderful Life was Mark Linkous' (Linkous's, Linkou's, Linkoususes...) first substance-free album after being pronounced medically dead for three minutes after a bad reaction. It's sprinkled throughout with collaborations and is a bit more bare-boned than his other albums, not tinged in the sprawling psychedelic colors of its predecessor Good Morning Spider (and I have to be honest, I prefer It's a Wonderful Life, but mostly for sentimental reasons,) it offers, I think, a series of more sharply focused images, or at least, more sharply focused than we're used to seeing from Mark. You don't see this set of songs through the almost impenetrable static and metaphor of his previous works, but like reflections in a mirror. The emotions are, I think, closer to the surface, but they still have to be deciphered.

I love Piano Fire. It's propulsive. With PJ Harvey pulling guest vocals, and Linkous's lyrics and his own vocals pushing her...

how do you feel? / how do you feel? / I can't seem to see through solid marble eyes // fiery pianos wash up on a foggy coast / squeaky old organs have given up the ghost / fire them up and kill the pianos / there's creaky old organs burning on the coast

I like the static, I like the snares, the hush flush rush of the music feels like surf, like walking through the sandy swirls of low waves, leaving you wanting to drag your feet a bit, the way the vocals drag almost in opposition of each other, but in the same step, not so much riffing, but adding tension.... You still hear all the crashing and sift through it for the salt, the whole song washed in waves. The lyrical refrence to the ocean fits the music SO well. I love this song.

"Dinosaur Act"
by Low
from Things We Lost In The Fire

I wanted to find another song that gives the same sense of it being covered in a wash of something, or drowned in it... And it's got some good contrasting vocals in it as well, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker are actually married. The bass beats are great, they feel like dinosaur stomps to me, big loomy echoes stomping all over it - which is why I like the title of the song. I love this album by Low, it's one I go back to over and over... someday I will do a decent review of it, but for now - there's the song.

You and your daughter / and your father / flew airplanes // You and your sister / can tell by the back of her hands // It was a dinosaur act / dinosaur act // After expenses / and pulling up fences / no more airplanes // And putting your foot down / a nail shot up like a bright red snowflake // Just like a dinosaur act / dinosaur act



Haha Sound - Pendulum

Stereolab, dipped in lacquer, with the gain knob cranked - cool album, thanks chels.


Thirty Rock really took a nosedive in quality, halfway through season 4, like they replaced their whole writing room with hacks who then resorted to crude formulas for emulating character behavior and plot lines. I think it hit its nadir with the dentist-anaesthesia episode. Wait, that wasn't even just one episode - it was an arc. An arc! I almost gave up. But I just watched the Floyd episode and it seems like it's starting to get back into form. Whew.

review of a movie with a pretty good title

the girl with a dragon tattoo

Incestuous Nazi  serial killer rapist father son tag team. Plus: Swedish and English have many common words, e.g. daughter. Also, Swedish women don't stay Hot t t as they age either.

I have been watching these all day.

Arj and Poopy: Poetreet from Arj and Poopy on Vimeo.

For Emma, Forever Ago

For Emma, Forever Ago
Bon Iver
2007 self-release / 2008 release by Jagjaguwar

I discovered this album in early 2008 when I was nannying in Stamford, Connecticut. It's not really a stretch to say it got me through that entire year.

Bon Iver - a play on the French "bon hiver" for "good winter" - is actually just Justin Vernon, formerly of DeYarmond Edison. When the band moved to North Carolina and broke up, Justin moved back to Wisconsin and holed himself up in a family cabin for four months, with recording the last of his intentions. He did what I think every artistic temperament would like to do after an exhausting creative "failure"... turn into a hermit and disappear. Recuperate in the snow, put the world on freeze until you're ready to resume.

Turns out when you're alone in a cabin and it's too cold to go outside, and you have rudimentary recording equipment just lying around, you can make a pretty incredible album, regardless of your original intentions.

One of the things I love about this, is that he recorded the music first, and then went back, listening to the melodies and inserting lyrics where he felt they fit best. To me, the words are just another instrument. There are parts where you can't really tell what he's saying, but you don't need to, the mood carries across regardless. It's got some brilliant lyrics, poetic, powerful images. Well, powerful in their loneliness, if that is power. They stick with you, especially once you figure out what he's saying...

"Sold my cold knot / A heavy stone / Sold my red horse for a venture home /To vanish on the bow -- / Settling slow // Fit it all, fit it in the doldrums / (Or so the story goes)"

It's all Vernon, all the instruments, everything. It wasn't re-recorded in studio when he reintegrated into society, (even though at times it does sound a bit too "produced" but that's just me nitpicking a folk element that's not acoustic, nor do I want it to be.) He had his brother haul up an old drum set for him, already equipped at the cabin with a Shure SM57 and an old Silvertone guitar. He says he made his own "instruments" out of stuff around the cabin for whatever else he needed. Here I picture the obligatory saw, washboard, sheet metal, moonshine jug, etc. But that's just me being romantic.

"I crouch like a crow / Contrasting the snow / For the agony, I'd rather know / 'Cause blinded I am blindsided // Peek in... into the peer in / I'm not really like this... I'm probably plightless // I cup the window / I'm crippled and slow / For the agony / I'd rather know / 'Cause blinded I am blindsided // Would you really rush out for me now? // Taught line... down to the shoreline / The end of a blood line... the moon is a cold light // There's a pull to the flow / My feet melt the snow / For the irony, i'd rather know / 'Cause blinded I was blindsided"

It's mood music, really. But it's good mood music. It's stuff I wish I'd written. I think it's gorgeous, but then, this kind of music is my thang. And I can be sucker for the soft stuff.

Besides, a lonely guy in a cabin? If you have to do it, you might as well do a Thoreau job of it.

"I was teased by your blouse / Spit out by your mouth / I was lulled by your low / Seminary song // Tear on tear on / Take all on the wind on / Soft bloody nose / Send another form // So many territories / Ready to reform / Don't let it form us / Don't let it form us / A creature fear"


 The best band you never gave a shit about till you heard more than three of their songs. This song makes me think of Malik.

the killers

yeah, ,... work it out.

we love u dire straight

poetic justifications for inaction

The only place I've found poetry this millennium is in a title - and how. To easy answers, driver. Follow that bloody discharge. It's running a corporation like a running sore, consider it a run scored, I'm running to the mama matrix most mysterious, that's where I'll be safe.

So I felt lost because I forgot what holding a cigarette felt like. Because I'd forgotten what jonesying felt like. Except in the philosophical sense. Which seems to penetrate the deepest. And poetry takes a cut.

The only thing I can think to do is to take purpose in Pink Floyd. Learn a bunch of new live music tricks, get a second board like the college prof moonlight musician suggested. Maybe not worry about steel-toed boots just yet. See what shape this landscape is in, see what contours I form as a fluid, fluid is fine, I think, I'm fine with it, the path of least resistance. When resisting does not seem futile, I will... Uh. Huh. When woodsprites are sonic soul. Well. Spring? A new way to say hoooray? Let's not do concepts. But can we meander? I don't know if we can.

I don't see any particular appealing apocalypse. I don't see no career path. I don't know where these curves lead. To steel-toed boots? To job training programs? To George Street? I don't know. I'm lost. The bronze standard of tired, so I guess I'll sleep, via the vallie so low.

Super Mario Galaxy

is a well-designed game. They even incorporated "speed runs" into the gameplay, as a bonus level option. There, I said it. Now what?

heya.. i am back..

on my aol dial-up, ya fuck u , molly hatchet rules this a.m.
why? cuz i am in cousin hickey's garage! just a bit east of dekalb.

Holy Cats!

so i take the google trip to old stomping grounds once in awhile.. yes, that would be .de. germany. Gießen, Germany, home of The Busters Baseball Club, one great bratwurst stand, Turkish cuisine (if you have the right connections).. & a whole new lang:
so DeNnIsDaNiEl @ youtube\ 3.4 Bier Normal
you have lame dance moves, & though
yer video
incorporates - a longing for humane @ economic correctness, you best step it up a notch.

it takes effort to write reviews - to write crafty reviews - to exercise craftsmanship - i have to really want to - and lately i don't, want, to, do, much, of, anything, really,, commas, are, slowing, my, metabolism,, lulling, me, to, sleep, or, supine, inert, inaction. Everything broken up in winces, or pinches of flab, sniffing of finger tips, I should go back to smoking cigarettes, shouldn't I, wouldn't it solve everything, don't you think? It's okay, nobody reads or posts here anyway, that's the way the cookie crumbles. When I'm a critic again, the venue will still be standing around, like a Chinese neo-city, ready for expected life.

For now there ain't no crafts going on in this workshop, there's the assembly line, and there's assigned tasks, there's a system, if you got any questions, RTFM. I give this mood a D minus.

Shpongle - Ineffable Mysteries from Shpongleland

I'll never forget the first and last time I saw Shpongle. It was Shambhala, 2007. The world-class trance mage was coming all the way from the UK, right to our backyard, to party with us! Were we that cool? We guessed so. After the tequila, robitussin, bubble-hash, and amphetamines, I somehow correctly figured the day as Sunday, a Shambles miracle. That meant Shpongle on the beach stage. That was the plan, right? Sunday morning, the orgasm of the whole thing! Thing was, I had no happy juice left in me. I was popping E every hour just to stave off the downer. The bliss had degenerated to a sketched-out jitter, but it was energy, better than nothing. Sleep was nowhere on the horizon.

Hash was fuzzing out the crash, and I was so burned out I was beginning to get what raggae was about. I guessed I should go see Shpongle, it was about that time. I couldn't miss THIS, no matter how zombified I felt, no matter how meaningless everything was, especially music. Shpongle would somehow make everything alright. Shpongle live, an absurd prospect, what could I expect? Was this real? The woodsy paths to the beach were choked with fellow wastoids, converging toward Shpongelia, surging to get shpongled. When I got close to the beach stage, sure enough, I heard a track from the new album, bassified almost beyond recognition. Some crew had smoked DMT for this concresence, I found out later, synced just for Shpongle. I don't know how people can do that, crazy hippies, living what I wanted to be in theory. Shpongle, live, AND vaporized dimethyltryptamine, inhaled? That seems almost grotesquely gratuitous, and yet, oddly graceful. Or gravy, like we said, back in the day.

I squirmed through the throng, trying to get a glimpse, I figured I should do that, take a mental snapshot. So I got one. Some ordinary looking guy in a white baseball cap behind a mixing board, doing that record-spinny thing DJs do. Having a hazy picture of "Shpongle live", I decided I was done. I wasn't gelling with the music, or the scene, or life, really. I had some somas back at the camp, maybe they would knock me out and I could stop tweaking.

Sorry, I wish I had a better "seeing Shpongle live" anecdote than that. I've never claimed to be a journalist.

Now, about Shpongle's newest album. Well, "newest album" is a misnomer. "Ineffable Mysteries" sounds like a precursor, which is not good for a fourth release. Everything that sounded so gloriously transhuman in their last three records has been re-shuffled and splayed out in a formula. I wish I could say this is an "apotheosis", but it's more self-parody. It's an adroit demonstration of all the Shpongelian production techniques thus far perfected. Every one of them, no shit. It's the tubular bells midi concerto for orchestra, all 128 patches! Plenty of boy-yoing pitch-modulated drums. The robot vowelizer is back, and he won't go away. That exotic  boundary-dissolving Shpongle sound you adore, you loyal fan? It's uber-exotic this time around, because there's more middle eastern scales per capita than the last three discs put together. Track two is Arabian-scale guitar over raggae. It's the Oreo Pizza philosophy: throwing things together because it hasn't been done, probably.

Basically, there's no point to this album. They did this shit better, way way better, with Are You Shpongled, Tales of the Inexpressible, and Nothing Lasts. It's a step backward, and not in a nostalgic way. Even the album title is goddamn shoddy. Ineffable Mysteries? C'mon, man, listen to yourself! I'm not being fair, I know. I cut them slack on the first three, and then decide this one gets no mercy, so I can be a bitchy critic, like I wanted to be. It has its moments of lysergic virtuosity that kick ass in a way no one else can. They're just scattered so thin that they're not worth mentioning.

I caught an interview with Shpongle, the band, on tour, prior to a show in Russia. DJ Simon and his crew of beautiful glittering freaks still seem to be a groovy bunch of people, funny and sardonic as fuck, which reminds me that you can be stoned on acid 24/7 and still be cool. I thought their last album was going to be their Last Album. "Nothing lasts... But Nothing is Lost", what a title for a closer. That would have been such a high note to go out on.

It sounds very pretty, like always. It's pretty good musical wallpaper - so that's kinda like high praise, since that's the main function of music nowadays. It's very "functional", like for the chill-out room, and Soma FM. But Shpongle is no longer the mage. The magic is gone. It's been Penn and Tellerized, through excessive exposition. Also, the people tripping samples are getting ridiculous, though I appreciate the intent more than one should decently say. This album sounds like what I would have done in 2003 if I'd gone mad with power – and then got really tired, and farmed out the project to hack producers in the mixing stage.

I'm not going to delete it from my hard-drive. I'm sure I'll find a function for it. Or a brand of cough-syrup that brings out its subtleties.

Scorpions "Lonesome Crow"

The Scorpions, ah yes, the Scorpions. This is a band that I regularly argue about. The majority of musical tourists will assume that the Scorpions didn’t exist before “Love At First Sting,” the album that produced “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” but in my humble opinion, that was the end of the Scorpions. Perhaps that’s because I’m not a big fan of glistening, slick, pop-metal.

In the early days, 1972-78, the Scorpions were a hard rocking quintet with soaring, German accent soaked vocals and some of the hottest guitar playing on the planet thanks to Uli Roth. The album that I’m going to unearth in this edition of “Classic Rock Review” is “Lonesome Crow.” The band’s first, and I believe, best album.

“Lonesome Crow,” released in 1972, that’s right, 1972, was a very unique version of the Scorpions as it was the only album to fully feature Michael Schenker on lead guitar, a very young, teenage, Michael Scenker at that. What he didn’t have in stubble on his chin, he definitely had in guitar chops. In 1973 Michael left to join UFO who at that time was a huge European rock band. He briefly returned to play guitar on a few songs on the Scorpions’ 1979 release, “Love Drive.” What also makes this album stand out is its very psychedelic hippie-ish approach. Long songs full of extended spacey jams more akin to the Grateful Dead than the Scorpions. Although it did maintain a lot of the Les Paul/Marshall stack attack that you would expect making it a true delight for those of you who like jam bands but wish they would grow a pair.

The first track, “I’m Going Mad” starts out with a very cool rhythmic vamp revolving around great rhythm guitar tones by older brother Rudy Schenker. The song is really little more than a five minute guitar solo with the occasional vocal harmony by Klaus Meine. Michael Schenker shines on this song, laying down some amazing guitar work with very memorable melodies while mastering the forgotten art of guitar tone.

“It All Depends” pretty much follows suit with a scattering of screechy vocals and then a long winded solo section. Jam band heaven.

“Leave Me” begins as a very German sounding love song that has psychedelic guitar noise throughout until Michael Schenker decides once again to let that Les Paul sing with some very nice melodic passages and a rather creamy tone. I can’t make out what the lyrics are but it does sound like Klaus is feeling a bit sensitive. But just before you get all weepy, yep, you guessed it, full shred guitar jam. Nothing heals the heart like a 100 watt Marshall stack.

The next track is a true slice of Krautrock flavoured psychedelia filled with more blazing guitar work. Opening up with acoustic guitars, the song floats through many changes and emotions, Klaus Meine switching back and forth between high screeching vocals and a wonderful vibrato.

Side two continues the formula of short vocal passages with heaps of guitar solos, walking bass lines and solid band jamming. The album finishes off with the title track, which is a massive thirteen minute journey full of extensive jamming soaked with reverb and delay. There is a very strange middle section featuring only a sparse backwards drum beat and an odd ascending vocal line with no actual lyrics. Of course this section eventually winds into more classic Michael Schenker noodling and blasts off into outer-space.

All in all, a primitive, yet brilliant first step for a band that would go on to dominate a musical genre for many years. My only complaint, and this is a heavy bone of contention, is that the Scorpions didn’t continue in this vein. The Uli Roth years following started out in a similar fashion, but the days of epic songs packed with improvisation were gone. “Lonesome Crow” is an album that captures a young band, not so much concerned with structure and song writing but knowing that they were hot players and exploring the glorious heights that only improvisation can deliver. When you listen to this album, you can really feel the electricity and excitement of a band in a room playing together which is a refreshing change from the modern cut and paste perfect studio albums that glut the rock’n’roll market today.

review by Mike Maggot
classic rock review

CHUD references

I just realized, I've made two CHUD references in two reviews. WTF? I really don't know why. In case anyone is wondering - it's an acronym that stands for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers. If I was to guess at the reason for the density of these references, I could trace it as far back as me having an acid trip during which I believed the world had been destroyed in a singularity that brought about nuclear apocalypse. A year or so later, still obsessed with the apocalypse (or any apocalypse), I re-read Stephen King's novel "The Stand", which still had a hook in my subconscious, despite the sorry spectacle of his sell-out cash-in wrap-up to "The Dark Tower". That got me re-evaluating my impressions of Stephen King's other novels, mostly formed while a formative juvenile, which has its pros and cons.

Anyway, The Stand stood the test of time, and so did It, although I confess, I never bothered to re-read that one thousand page Maineviathan, just did a lil skimming, just between you and me. Wouldn't want to make a multi-millionaire cry bitter salty tears, even if they do turn into jellybeans. Anyway, there's a whole chapter in there, I vaguely recollect, called "The Ritual of CHUD". There's also a lot of action that takes place in and under the sewers of Derry, Maine, and a giant spider that eats children and shapeshifts, and, well, various other things. It's a long book. And it's got killer neologisms, like "deadlights", that I came up with independently, I swear! And I guess the sewer dweller of primordial origin that came from some other universe that The Turtle didn't regurgitate has seemed relevant to me lately for some reason, as well as the confluence of other factors that are related to cannibals, humanoids, undergrounds, and/or dwellers. I can see the self-parody concrescing like a chrysanthemum phosphene on steroids.

The Sound of Something

I'm gonna go ahead and slag a classic album that I've heard two or three times, by an artist I've never felt worthy to be a fan of. This will seem shallow, but will cultivate a cantankerous irascible persona.

I probably wouldn’t have listened to the David Bowie / Brain Eno collaboration “Low”, in the first place, if Pitchfork hadn’t called it: THE GREATEST ALBUM OF THE 1970s. Yes, “The”. It’s kind of like those mainstream academic lit snobs pronouncing Ulysses the greatest novel of the 20th century. No one's saying it's not great, but who the hell actually reads that thing?

You know how you like to flip on some music in the car or the living room, something cool, something that says something about you for playing it, and you wait for that golden moment when the people you're with ask what it is, and you tell them, and they say, “Oh, that's cool, I should check them out”, and you say “It's a solo artist actually”, and then you turn them onto this great thing, and feel great about it, and the music is mutually enjoyed? Low is useless for that.

It's not a hang out and play and feel cool album, which is at least one of the criteria necessary for THE "best of the decade" pick. See, you can soak in sonic bliss with “OK Computer”, Pitchfork's ‘90s pick, and you can soak in sonic, uh, youth, with “Daydream Nation”, Pitchfork’s ‘80s pick. But Low? No. Just try it, I dare you.

So, according to my review, it's over-hyped, which is only the fault of the hypers, but is the worst sin, and my raison d’vitriol. I can’t stand over-hyped things, blue skies, lobsters, you know. So Pitchfork hyped it, and killed it for me. I’d probably love Low if I’d “discovered” it on my own, and had some claim to lay. And why does it have to be a “hang out and feel cool” album? Maybe it’s a headphone album, right? Sit down, close your eyes, and listen. Well, I guess I haven't found the right place to sit or the right pair of headphones. But I’ll give it another try.

It starts promising, innovative studio tricks draw my attention on the opener “Speed of Life”. It’s an almost down-to-earth track, it’s cool WITH you, not AT you. Low kind of caresses your face at first, then begins to claw at it like a clingy tweaker. Trademark Bowie/Eno chutzpah to open with an instrumental. Then we’re into standard B-side Bowie happy-go-lucky turgidness, sarcastic and why should I care? It’s very brevity says something, I’m sure. Yeah. It’s surely the sound of... something. Something I’ll never know, so I’ll slag it.

“Be My Wife” is more sound of something with obnoxious hammering piano bass. So maybe it’s supposed to be obnoxious. If I google-imaged the original gate fold, would everything become clear? It’s so sound of something, I’m soaking in it. Something to do with the late ‘70s, proto-‘80s, and Bowie, and hitting an all-time low, and Eno’s new music machines. Another portal to nowhere. Actually it’s more of a porthole, grimy glass in the bowels of a vessel, starship, steamship, who knows and who cares? A good Bowie album is a portal, transportative.

“Always Crashing in the Same Car”. Good titles, anyway. Makes me wanna say, “let the children boogay”. Neato sound effects. They do some cool things with their new machines. The songs are deceptively songlike, drums and bass where they're supposed to be, but ultimately subsumed in conceptual noodling. Very soulful conceptual noodling though. Or perhaps soulless conceptual noodling, same difference?

I have to admit, there’s something intriguing about trying to connect these sickly synths with titles like “A New Career in a New Town”. Problem is, I'm not stoned enough to really relish the task. Also, I doubt the comic value of the music is intentional. Sorry guys, I'm from the World of Tomorrow, it's not your fault.

The second “side” (I know, I’m not worthy to review this album), starting with “Warszawa”, is where it really begins to justify my scorn, or better yet, the scorn of a more righteous musical arbiter. Certainly it does its job of, I assume, making me feel like a fluorescent-lit Thatcher-drone with a bad haircut and flickering soul. But c’mon, it's supposed to be the Best Album of the ‘70s. The SEVENTIES!

Oh I get it, it’s a “composition”. Yeah, sorry, you're over-reaching Eno, and Bowie, your uber-ethnic vocalizations are not helping. Aha, but maybe they’re meant to hinder, haha!

“Art Decade”. Goddamn, that’s hilarious. Maybe I'm not crediting this album with the sarcasm it truly wields. That's what I always hear in Bowie, sarcasm and sincerity sinewed together seamlessly where intent is non-existent. Too bad about the music though – I could write a glowing review based on the track titles.

Compositionally, this “song” is pretty good. It sounds like a death march. I’d play it at my funeral, if I didn’t expect any friends or family to survive me. I understand the stylistic need for synthetic brass, but this song might be listenable if that shit wasn’t in the mix. It’s harmonically rising, not up to the light, but to "Weeping Wall", the next track, team Bowie's next sedative kicking in. It’s saw-waves and bell synths and nervy vibrato, and even gooder composition, and ever more sickly sound. You understand why Eno pitched himself in front of a bus: as a suicide note, this album is pitch-perfect. That Pitchfork writer was making a statement, I get it! A misanthropic pick - for being relegated to a picker, a list maker. Now THAT I can respect. And if there’s one thing any self-respecting person wants, it’s my respect.

“Subterraneans”. At this point, we’re deep into the ritual of CHUD. It’s the peak of misery, and goddamnit, it’s the best track yet. I could really like this album if I hadn't seen it at the top of a list, and if I was really depressed. I assume it's got some “Citizen Kane”-like claim to innovations I wouldn't appreciate, lacking scholarly gumption and life before 1981. So it sounds like black and white and men with funny hats talking quickly. So why am I reviewing it, like I have anything to add? Because I’ve already written all these words, that's why.

There follows more morose synthtwining with non-English vocalizations that move like Gregorian lines but fall like bridge-jumpers weighted down with stones and chains into the minor mires - yes, there's more than one mire in this mine. And my canary died a long time ago. So I think I’ll call it a night.

Okay, I'm not really slamming this album, just disliking it while admiring it, and saying it's stupid to call it the "best" anything. Basically, I resent the music not standing alone, which is why I made a point not to research anything, or read lyrics. That and I'm lazy. And I'm not a Bowie scholar and I'm sure there's plenty around who could school me. Didn't you know, one out of every two readers of Optical Delusions would score 80% or better on the average David Bowie trivia quiz, according to a recent Gallup poll?

Well, that was a lot of words for not much insight. Hope you were as bored reading them as I was writing them for this make-work project I felt compelled to finish. Just to prove I'm not using this album or musician as a scapegoat, I'll also attempt to review “Hunky Dory”. I hated that album at first but am coming to love it. Why do I feel out of my depth? I dunno, what do you do with the man who fell to earth?

sad and insecure flaw

sometimes a song comes along that describes perfectly the place where i am in life. these songs become anthems for a day or a kalpa.  i'm a big sucker for a good hook, one that's easy to sing along with. blue october's picking up the pieces delivers. it's an emo pop masterpiece. there's the emo trademark confessional spill "i really need to talk to you/i keep stepping on the vein/that keeps my lifeline flowing thru" using  a universal situation  which, if you haven't encountered it yourself- yet-you've known someone who has, observed how the state freezes  motion.  but before i have time to dwell on that line, justin furstenfield belts out another gasper "i don't feel perfect at all/sad and insecure flaw".  ok, fine, the lines are good, for a certain epoch in one's life, but what makes the song a masterpiece? just this: the way the emo lyrics are encased in an ironic musical shell.

The keys are major, and even the violin work by Ryan Delahoussaye has an upbeat tempo, a rising progression into the major tones of the hook. the irony doubles  in the hook's lyrics "how long will i picking up pieces/how long will i picking up my heart?"  emo rules might expect these words to be tinged with minor keys, solo piano rendered in plaintive tone. but blue october  takes this weepy cliche and places it inside an anthem with doubletime, rocky-esque strings and choral arrangements allowing  the act of singing to manifest the movement needed  to just get the fuck over it. i played this song for my tenant, who  said  "how long? till the next one comes along" .  so true --everyone's "next one" comes along , eventually or sooner. the question is cliche, yet unanswerable. the trick is to keep moving. this song helps me begin, so shortly into the coda  , i'm ready for this verse

i'm scared of death
and i'm scared of living
shit i gave up on the past
cuz it's unforgiving
i misplaced my trust
felt my word begin to rust
i'm a balloon about to bust
i need a place for reliving still.

blue october delivers the bust in the final movement, which moves from  minors in the chous to the extended majors of the hook,  reminding me how love is the bittersweet culmination of living. woah, indeed.

review by hiccup

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colin Movie Film for Theatres

This is a "for the fans" movie. If you haven’t watched the TV series on which it’s based, you'll be no closer to getting what all the non-fuss is about, but you'll likely have developed a burning hatred for whatever the hell this Aqua Teen thing is supposed to be.

The key to Aqua Teen's funniness as a series was its don't give a shit attitude. This doesn’t translate as well to the medium of film. We still see objects explode lazily with the same cheap-ass "the Cardassian ship has been destroyed captain" graphic. I cheered when I saw it on the big screen (of my small computer monitor) for the first time. But the marginally improved "film for theatres" graphics and sound imply a little too much giving a shit to please an Aqua Teen fan's palette. Thankfully the souped up 3d graphic segments are vastly outnumbered by the pixellated jerky crap that is our comfort zone. Also, the movie shares the series’ devotion to well-played bad music, badly played good music, and tastelessness in general.

I should say something about the plot, because I'm trying to be a reviewer, and when I read reviews, I want to know what happens, and what it's about, and whether it's any good, not necessarily in that order. Sigh. Okay. Well, it begins in “New York”, where Master Shake (a pistachio-flavoured milkshake), Frylock (a floating box of fries), and Meatwad (a ball of meat), emerge from a tomb to battle a robot dog. Frylock is killed in the course of the battle, but the other two escape with the aid of Time Lincoln (a time-travelling lincoln) and his space-rocket. These events turn out to have occurred solely in the mind of real-life Shake, who is trying to regale his housemates, real-life Frylock and Meatwad, with wild tales. The real beginning begins with Meatwad giving the opening concert of his rock tour, "Girl Quest 07" on the lawn of his house. He’s advertised the event with flyers, all of which cover Carl (their neighbor)'s house... Okay, then we revisit “New York”, where a watermelon spaceship is being co-piloted by a guy drumming on a Neil Pert sized kit. The man’s name is Neil. The pilot of the watermelon spaceship, a slice of watermelon, says something, and then it's back to Shake and Frylock who are... Ah, fuck it.

That was a synopsis, wasn't it? And synopsis... synopsis’s? synopssisses... synopsis'issessachhoooo! Sorry. Synopses, aren't appropriate for reviews, are they? No, people want a capsule, or whatever you call it, and no spoilers. But I’ll tell you one thing, my friend: as with the series, the movie does achieve a certain goodness that I would not even presume to call “delirious”, even though I feel there should be an adjective. Really, it's all about the voice acting and sound design. The way the guy who plays Master Shake inflects to Meatwad: "Congratulations. You have just been laid." (No, I don't know the name of the guy who plays Shake and I don't want to look anything up, takes too long to load, and I'm tired from trying to describe the plot). And the way you hear plastic squeaky sounds when Shake is flexing while bragging about how many reps he does. And how the robot from the future that always talks with spring reverb emits erotic sounds that might resemble a CHUD orgy under a sewer grate. A certain goodness, yes.

That being said... most of it's not good. It's like a pretty good episode of the series, inflated to 3x its size. Therefore it’s not mostly good, but 0.3 repeater good. So if any of my readersss...ship is still man enough to take the Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theatres challenge: a word of advice, colin: It helps to watch this movie film for theatres online, in little snippets between other activities. If you try to watch it all in one sitting, you probably won't.

Sorry about not looking up the name of the guy who plays Shake, by the way. It's stupid of me to want to be a reviewer with an audience, but be too lazy to look up basic information. And even stupider to write all these words about it instead of just looking it up, which would be faster. But then I’d have a review filled with trivia, and somehow, that doesn’t feel right. But the credits rolled as I was writing this last paragraph, so it's Dana Snyder.

In conclusion:
0.3 repeater good.